The exhibition Blazing Grace was a reflection on the First Gulf War, 1990 to 1991, and the wider effects of its military action in the Middle East.
Part of an ongoing collaboration between the Iranian painter Shahram Karimi and his childhood friend video artist Shoja Azari – both regular collaborators with artist Shirin Neshat, the show was at East Central Gallery in Shoreditch, East London, 2013.
The Oil Series are scenes of heavily smoking desert fires scorching the sky, soldier and tanks riding over the ashy debris.
The invading Iraqi army pulled out of Kuwait they purposely burnt 737 oil wells, which causing unprecedented environmental damage in the waters of the gulf and burned for many months. Blazing Grace took from Werner Herzog’s film Lessons of Darkness, with scenes edited by Azari and projected as loops onto Karimi’s coffee house paintings, detailing Persia’s epic history of myth and legend and covered in Karimi’s poetry written in Farsi.